30 Oct 2008

Words Words Words

This word pic rocks and you can get one too compiled from all the text in your blog. Just go here.

Do you Tip?

As some of you may already know I'm a part time waitress, I don't do this because I love it, but to make cash so that I can spend the rest of my time trying to start up my design business. When I started last year I totally underestimated how unbelievably hard it would be. It's lots of running up and down a very large restaurant while carrying needlessly heavey plates. All the while having an inside out knowledge of the menu, with a sunny pleasant disposition. As I said I don't love my job but I 'm good at it because being good makes life easier and less stressful for me and the customer.

When I first started the tips were pretty great, I saw it as a viable job to have for a while to save cash, but still not have to do a million hours a week. But I have a very big bone to pick at the moment. There is an ever increasing epidemic of a lack of tipping. Now I know Ireland doesn't have the same tipping culture as America, but really guys a 400 euro bill with no tip??! I'm not talking about tables that are unhappy. These are people who I have taken care of, who said they were very happy and had a great time. It happening more and more. I know the recession has a big part to play but, in my opinion, if you can afford to spend 400 quid, you can afford to tip. I understand the odd occasion people may not have change etc,etc. But I would really like to know what these people are thinking? What do you think about it, do you tip? Irish readers I'm especially interested.

And one more thing you probably didn't know, the government is now taking 13.5% tax off our service charge and credit card tips! So thanks a million to the big fat cats.

29 Oct 2008

Helping Hand

I just had a strange Enid Blighton moment on the street.Picture it; Pregnant lady struggling down the street carrying lots of heavey bags...oh no what do I do? I'm not posting to show what a do-gooder I am, I'm more appalled that I considered not helping her! Isn't it a sad state of affairs that our community becomes so alienated from each other that we think twice about a simple act of kindness. What did I think she would do, be insulted, get angry!? Well thankfully I got over my sillynes and helped the poor woman,but I'm still a little ashamed that I paused.

28 Oct 2008

Aural Assault

I was walking down the mainstreet in Limerick the other day and one of the department stores was pumping out special offer prices on loud speaker. This wasn't coming from the shop but actually piped out onto the street. Does anyone else find this a bit creepy in a 1984 kind of way. It's bad enough that advertising has permeated every part of our day to day, but now we are aurally assaulted while walking down the street. Am I being an old curmudgeon about this?

27 Oct 2008

Spooky Wedding

I'm going to a Halloween Wedding this weekend, and it's fancy dress! It's a small low key affair which I really respect. I understand that some people really want a big traditional wedding with all their famliy, but the cost of it is what seems insane to me. As of late it's a hot topic of conversation as I'm at that age where a lot of my friends are starting to think of the chimimng of bells. Essentially a wedding is a party where all of your friends and family turn up. Then things like hotels and planners get involved and suddenly you're 30,000 in dept. So this couple have just rented a room to have an evening celebration, so no paying for a big meal, simple but it sounds great to me.
I spent about a week mulling over what I would dress up as. While I was in Scotland my friends convinced me to buy a corset that on later consideration I knew I would never wear. So me the Queen of repurposing based my costume around this gold corset (somehow it's more acceptable to wear this boobalicious corset as a costume). It has evolved into a Marie Antoinette type thing, including large brown frilly skirt. I just got the bulk of it finished about an hour ago, and I must say I'm pretty chuffed with it. I just have to add an extra supporting hoola hoop to the skirt and some lace to the end and collar. I kind of hate the day after halloween, I wish I could dress outlandingly all the time. It would be pretty fecking strange to buy a pound of butter down at the local shop in this dress, but a large part of me wants to.

Photos will be added soon as the boyfriend still has my camera in London at the stag weekend(I just got a call appently he broke a tooth!)

24 Oct 2008

New Mirrors

I've just put in an order with the fantastic etsy shop kungfucowgirl for another 1000 badges. Believe it or not I've just about run out of the other ones, and I think these freebies make my stall that bit more memorable...which is what it's all about. Along with those I'm getting 250 1" magnets with my images and website on them. I know they may not work out as well as the badges but I couldn't help myself, they look so cute. Lastly I'm getting 50 custom made 2" pocket mirrors. I'll be selling these at about 3 euro each (or maybe 4 depending on how nice they look). At the moment I'm in the middle of designing a selection of pictures for the backs of them. The boyfriend is away on a stag weekend, and I feel a little sorry for my neighbours as I've been wailing away to Ani Difranco for hours full volume. When he is here I'm a tad more restrained with my cat cry singing, but while the mouse is away the cat will screach.

Here are some previews of the designs for the mirrors.

23 Oct 2008

Limerick Leader Article

Well it's out and on sale in local shops, the feature on yours truely. If you want to check it out just click here. It's also the weekend edition of the paper so it will be out all weekend. I'm really happy with it, Aine Fitzgerlald did a really nice job of it. The feature itself got the front page photo on 'Leader 2' suppliment, with the article on page 2. So thanks to Aine, and Gingergirl for prompting the idea to the Leader.

What not to Forget

Well it's just after 4am and I'm having an unfortunate case of insomnia.After staying up late to insure I was extra tired,and read a fair bit of my book, I then proceeded to listen to my boyfriend snoring for over an hour. I've heard getting up and doing something is recommended in this case. So if I can't rest I'll blog.
In my cozy warm but restless bed I decided to compile a list of things I bring to the market every week. After a year of forgetting stuff this might be helpful to newbies who may be starting out at a market over Christmas.

1 Long foldable table(purchased in woodies DIY as a wallpapering table)
1 lime green oilcloth table cloth(easy wipe for those rainy days,stays looking new for ages)
3 perspex office table organisers(purchased in Easons,used for displaying cards)
1 Table easle(purchased in argos,used to display mirror)
1 Mirror
1 Kiddies blackboard easle(for displaying broaches)
1 folding deck chair(for my bum,the ones with cup holders are better for the essential morning coffee)
4 green lightweight tab curtains(used as a makeshift changing room)
lots of bungee chords(useful for transporting luggage and hanging display clothes and changing room)
4 folding clothes rails(purchased in argos)
lots of crocadile clips(used for hanging things)
1 large lamenated sign with logo etc
1 curtain rail(to keep lamenated sign straight and in place)
1 ball of twine(tying up sign and various and endless other things)
lots of safety pins(for putting on labels,attaching clothes to hangers)
lots of paper bags(for alll my millions of sales)
1 Scissors(handy in a boy scout kind of way)
1 roll of cellotape(attaching signs etc)
1 pack of tissues(for the inevitable runny nose)
1 bag of felt and thread(so I can be sewing samples while I wait for the sales to roll in,and it grabs peoples attention)
1 Bag of badges(to give away free as promotion)
lots of business cards( for those customers that are web phobic and want a ph number)
2 Suitcases full of clothes
1 bad of cards
1 float of money
10 extra euros to spend on water,coffee and food
1 notebook to record sales
1 pen
1 trolley to attach it all to
1 able bodied man with patience to help me walk to the market with all of the above

1st Sale

Woohoo! On the eve on my interview being published with the Limerick leader I make my first sale on etsy. I know in reality the balance of the hours I've spent promoting versus the money I'll make doesn't make logical sense but it's still a giddy thrill. So here's to a future with healthy real life sales with a back up of online ones. I sold this dress to a lovely girl in the states looking for a Halloween costume.So let's hope this is the start of the ball rolling.

21 Oct 2008

Well I've been doing lots of self-publicising as of late. Last week I did an interview with the Limerick leader, after which I got a phonecall saying they are going to run with my feature on the front cover of their style and culture section. It was very exciting to hear that, but it meant that they re-shot the pictures of me in my studio today. It all went fine, I'm not exactley the most relaxed person in front of a camera. I also was in touch with the Limerick Event Guide, and they will be running an ad for me, the '5 minutes' interview, and next month putting me in their top 5 buys. It's all very business like, and timely coming up to Christmas. It makes me feel a bit silly that I didn't organise these things sooner. Ah well live and learn.
I just wasnted to say thanks to Declan, first for answering all those probing questions for the feature I did, and also for all the extra traffic I've gotten from his blog.

20 Oct 2008

Declan Shalvey Feature

Declan Shalvey is the first among a sporadic series of featured artist that I'm going to do. I first met Declan in when I joined the print deparment in art college in 2001. He was a year ahead of me and regularly loved popping in to see the first years and impart tidbits of wisdom with a mixture of genuine helpfulness and silly bravado. Over the years we have become good friends who meet up on the rare occasions to talk all things drawing and techy. It's with great sense of pride that I tell people of my friend who is making a living being a comicbook artist. He stands for all the hope that everyone had in college; to graduate and stay doing what you loved in the real world. Here's what he had to say for himself....
Frankenstein Exclusive! (colours by Jason Cardy and Kat Nickloson)
What is your general working method?
Well, if it's a comic, first of all, i read the script. I give the script a good read though and do small thumbnails as I go along, trying to rough out a solid page layout, or the best way to lay out the story in panels. From that, i do A5 sized layouts (either in pen or pencil) and work out the composition of the page, work out placement of speech bubbles and draw in all the figures with certain levels of detail. Not too much, but enough to know where everything needs to be. In order to keep the page as close to the layout as possible, I scan the layout, blow it up on photoshop and trace the layout on to an A3 sized art board. This helps the finished page to keep the spontaneity of the original layout. Since the page is just lines of rough composition, I then refine the drawing in pencil. Once happy, I ink the page with pen, brush, indian ink and a tipp-ex pen where necessary.
The technical approach is the same if i'm doing illustration work, but the original thumbnail drawings require a different thought process. If it's a cover, you need to think about storytelling, but in a different way than you would with a sequential page. The trick is to tell a story, while coming up with an eye-catching image. Illustration work doesn't require as much thought as regards storytelling, but there is always a certain idea you want to communicate, so the initial brainstorming is very important.
Frankenstein (colours by Jason Cardy and Kat Nickolson)
What inspires you?
Other people's talent. When i see art by someone else that makes me sigh and think "I'll never be that good..." it makes me try and do better with my own work. Talking about technique, approach and process with other artists always gets me excited to get back to the drawing board too. I get a lot of inspiration from film and music too. Sometimes melody, or lyrics, or a damned good tv show or movie makes me want to get off my backside and create something.

What got you started as an artist?
Well, as a kid, it was cartoons and comics that made me want to draw. I always wanted to be better at drawing no matter how good I was. I was always relatively good at drawing for my age, so that was always encouraging. I always wanted to draw comics, so all my life, i've had an aim to work towards. That eventually let to professional work. So, when I really think about it, I guess the real answer to your question is that I just drew one day, kept drawing, 'til eventually one day I turned around and realised I was 'an artist'. The actual start happened somewhere inbetween...
Who would you like to work with?
Good writers! There's a couple of writers I'm huge fans of, like Garth Ennis and Ed Brubaker, who I'd love to work with. If you're working from a good script the end drawing will always reflect that, I think. I've never worked with an inker; it's something i'd be curious to see, but i'd only like to see someone with a really interesting technique interpret my pencils. Someone like Jason Shawn Alexander, Guy Davis, or Stefano Gaudiano. Saying that, I think they'd be better off doing their own work! I'd love to work with a colourist who could do great stuff with flat colour too.
Where would you like to be in 5 years? Both location and professionally.
Well, I guess in 5 years time I'd like to be in Ireland after having been away for a year, settling down with my discreetly pregnant supermodel girlfriend. Just kidding.... that's where i'd like to be in 10 years time. Professionally, well I'd really like to have had a body of work in American mainstream comics. It's not likely I'll be 'snapped up' anytime soon, but I would really like to think that in 5 years time, I will have done some US-based work for either of the big companies over there. I guess I would also like to be nearly finished a graphic novel of my own by then too.

Your highlight so far professionally?
To be honest, I've had a lot of mini-highlights that have kept me going over the last few years, but the main three highlights would have to be winning the Eagle Award for Hero Killers last year, also being nominated this year for Favourite Newcomer was an amazing surprise. The most recent though would be just a few days ago when I got a copy of Frankenstein; my first graphic novel. I'm just delighted with it.
Advice to new beginners?
Make contacts! Make as many as you can. Someone you meet today could be a huge help to you in a couple of years time. Be friendly, approachable, polite, and above all, professional. Don't ignore criticism! Take it all on board and use it to improve. Of course all this is only to back up the talent you must have. Actually. 'talent' is the wrong word. I really don't believe I myself am talented. I think I've worked long and hard and have become skilled to a degree as a result. I hope to become more skilled as time goes by and the only way to do that is to practice. You must to the same. Draw everything around you, even the stuff that bores you. Especially the stuff that bores you. If you want to draw comics, you need to draw everything, not just superheroes.
What still excites and challenges you?
Every script I get and every sequential page I draw challenges me. Doing research and gathering reference for a story, coming up with ways to interpret the script, trying not to repeat yourself, etc. Every page, every script is different, so as a result every page I do is a unique challenge in and of itself.
Other artistic mediums, or areas that you find interesting?
I studied Fine Art Printmaking in college and still do find it interesting. It's been a while since I've made a print, but it's something I'd love to do again. I find many different mediums interesting, as long as there's a level of technical skill involved. If Art College taught me anything, it's that I have an incredibly low tolerance for conceptual artwork. Unless there's an obvious display of someone mastering their craft, I'm really not interested.

What job would you be doing if not this one?
God knows! If i couldn't draw, i would probably try my hand at writing. Maybe film-making? There would have to be some level of creativity, that's for sure.

Lastly, Some favorite links for music,books,website etc.
I'm still pretty old fashioned, so I go to actual shops for books and music, i very rarely look for anyinfomation online about that stuff, but i do recommend a podcast that interviews many artists from comics and illustration such as Drew Struzan, James Jean and Jon Foster, called SIDEBAR http://www.sidebar.libsyn.com/

13 Oct 2008

I had a good day at the office

Well my new tactics at the market really worked. I went from a small table of cards with two clothes rails, to four rails and a large table with a wide range of greetings cards. It's hard to get I rish people to cross over that invisible line and step into a stall and how a look around. Today the general public were feeling adventurous, stepped in and liked what they saw. So clap on the back for myself,yey. Hopefully next week goes as well.
I had a photo shoot on Saturday afternoon with my good friend Sharon, here are a couple of things I sold today. I haven't had a chance to process all my pictures yet, so my listing on etsy for my new garments are a little delayed. So if you're reading this Sharon you were great thanks a million!

12 Oct 2008

I've been tagged

So I was tagged today by this lovely person. Basically the idea is when you get tagged you list 7 or 8 random facts about yourself, and them you go on to tag a few other blogs etc.etc. I think it's cute so I'm gonna do it.

1.I've worked as a waitress, bar person, newsagent supervisor, pr agent for an airline, toilet attendant, glass collector, off licence, sales assistant, movie extra, free lance graphic designer....and maybe someday I'll be an astronaut.

2.I'm really messy,I think it was a mixture of having a complete neat freak of a mother, and then years living as a student. On top of that I lived with a flat mate for years who was really untidy, and he broke down any will in me to be tidy. But sometimes at 2am I start cleaning, I think it's my mother coming out in me.

3. I can't watch nature programmes on tv while I'm eating,it makes me want to vomit,and will completely turn me off a meal. My boyfriend likes to tease me and flick them on for a few seconds-he is cruel but I love him.

4. I'm ambidextrous. Not 100%, but enough to fool my art teacher in collge. Drawing is much easeri with either hand than writing. But lets say if I broke my left hand I wouldn't have too much trouble writing. I figure I have an advantage being a lefty, because I live in a left handed world it gives me lots of practice. Although I hate brushing my teeth with my right hand.

5. When I was young I wanted to grow up and be a kangaroo,I'm glad my goals in life have changed.

6.I'm allergic too:Lactose(milk,cheese,yogert,cream,ice-cream)

Any skin care products
Some brands of humous
Spermacide(don't ask!!)
White wine(my eyelid has swollen up)
Alcohol in general makes me sneezey and itchy,but I still drink
...and maybe the world....

7. People always think I'm American,when in fact I'm 100% Irish. My parents are from Dublin,and we lived there for a bit,then I moved to Celbridge in Kildare, and now Limerick, so I just have a general Irsh accent. But people always mistake it for an American, which drives me mental! No offense to any Yanks reading this, but people always say it the most patronising way, like I'm trying to fake it,or I want to be American. They finish off their scathing appropriation of my character with the sentance 'maybe you've been watching too much 'friends'', followed by a sneer. It's at this vital moment that the annoying person has no clue how near death they are cos I may just explode with anger and obliterate them in the blast. If this had happened to me a couple of times I woul think it silly, but it has regularly popped up in conversation for years. Also may I add that this is always said by someone who has the most awful mumbled Irish accent, so they can't understand why I don't also speak like I have a peg on my nose while chewing marbles....rant over.

8. I hate pancakes, the texture of them makes me gag. I've never met anyone else who doesn't like them.

Here are the people I'm going to tag...Declan, Marian, and Mom-o-Matic

11 Oct 2008

Shopping Spree

I have been a very poor blogger as of late,apologies to anyone who stopped by. The reason being is that I'm expanding the market stall this week. Which mean my little fingers have been very busy making lots of new stock. I'm attempting to go from 2 clothes rails, to 4. Being honest i think I've managed 3 and a half, but it's not bad going really.As part of this stall over haul I went on a supplies shopping spree today. The Irish weather decided to play rather a significant role in this excursion which transformed a 1 hour mosey to the shop to a 3 hour ordeal. A mixture of very late buses, soggy damp paper bags, non existant taxis, and very heavey boxes made me a very grumpy lady. So I thought I would share the fruit of my labours with you guys.

I have had an on-going struggle with card display at the stall, but my prayers were answered by Easons, with this nifty perspex desk organiser,at only 15 quid a pop it's a whole lot cheaper than other units I had priced recently.It's also perfect timing to start showing my Christmas cards.
Times 3 it suddenly morphs into a display unit,genius.A table easle to safely display a mirror, the wind is a curse at outdoor shows, so I thought a mounted mirror would be safer than free standing.I got this in Argos for about 26 euro.
I picked up some nifty storage for my very untidy studio. A only 2 euro a pop a grabbed three of them.
Speaking of untidy studios, I eventually took some photos,at long last.

2 Oct 2008

Girlie Rant

Forgive me readers for the following self indulgent rant but I'm truely feeling sorry for myself today. I know it's a fact of life that every month I turn into a pain ridden , cranky bumbling mess, but it still knocks me for six, you'd would think I would be used to it by now after 15 years of periods. But no I'm not! Unfortunately I'm one of those women that suffers from extreame cramps, now I don't mean the 'ouch that hurts, let me take a little rest' kind, I mean the 'oh my god I can't stand up, is it innappropriate to burst out crying in the middle of the street' sort. So my plans for a productive day of taking photos and some handsewing have disolved into me having a bath and going to bed with a hot water bottle and an unrecommended amount of painkillers. I have now resigned myself to the idea that I may just watch some badly written cliche girlie movies,cry a bit, and maybe snap irrationally at the boyfriend...just for the heck of it. Ah well it could be worse, I could be working today, at least I can shuffle about the flat enjoying my self pity without scaring anyone else.
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